• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.
  3. Please note there is a new rule regarding the posting of videos. It reads, "Post a summary of the videos you post . An exception can be made for music videos.". Unless you are simply sharing music, please post a summary, or the gist, of the video you wish to share.

No conviction of sin

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

  1. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

    +138
    Baptist
    Married
    losthope, this quote deserved a separate thread.... try and work out who it is coming from first.

    If this fails, you must fall back on a subtler misdirection of his intention. Whenever they are attending to the Enemy Himself we are defeated, but there are ways of preventing them from doing so. The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills. When they meant to ask Him for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them really be trying to feel brave. When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success or failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Did you suspect an uncle demon speaking to his nephew, instructing him how to destroy a christian's ability to pray?

    From C.S. Lewis' infamous christian novel "The Screwtape Letters". The Screwtape Letters by C.S Lewis page 1

    P.S. I hadn't read that book for a while until last night but, suddenly thought of it and decided to read in bed. I saw that passage and immediately thought of your struggle.... again "just by chance" ;)
     
  2. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

    340
    +15
    Agnostic
    Married
    It is on pages 25 and 26 in my copy. I won it in a scripture competition as a teenager, answering questions on the ten commandments.
     
  3. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

    340
    +15
    Agnostic
    Married
    To joey down under. In response to my “I see my search for God, but I do not see God responding” you wrote this:
    *humph* Here you have returned to a christian forum after years of loss of faith, and asking for how to receive real feelings of conviction of sin.
    "Just by chance" you have a christian respondee who has:
    1. had brain surgery that has removed nearly all spiritual feelings that caused a major crisis in faith lasting approx 7 years
    2. that same respondee is able to converse with you several times per day because her kids "just happen" to be on holidays and her non-christian husband "just happens" to be on a major army exercise for a month....
    Time for you to read the joke about A man, a boat, and god


    I appreciate what you are saying here. However, I would prefer to reserve judgement until I know how it all turns out. I have posted on Christian Forums before, sometimes being helped and sometimes finding that it strengthens my suspicion that I am never going to find God. And yes I have heard the joke before.

    I would say a lot of genuine christians mistake some emotional experiences for spiritual ones and vice versa. Mistaking emotional responses for genuine spiritual conversion would also explain why some people who claimed they made a decision for Christ and go to church for decades can still later become atheists, and not just mere agnostics -fundamentalist atheists out to deconvert any christian they can!

    Looking at it from your point of view, if they deconvert others who were led astray by emotional experiences, than it may not be a bad thing, because those deconverted people may be able to begin again and really find God this time.

    I have realised feelings can actually be a real hinderance to true faith because people start looking for the gifts not the Giver. That is a completely different subject altogether and would be better on another thread.

    I know that many Christians have told me that feelings are not what matters with regard to faith. I hope they are right, because if feelings are essential, then I may as well give up now, because I do not have such feelings.

    Yes, Jesus knows who His sheep are. His sheep believe in Him, and they demonstrate that faith by seeking to please Him and follow his commandments. psalm 119 The poet does use emotional words (as expected in poetry) but the poet is demonstrating, doing, working to please God. No talk about trying to feel repentant before he feels he can qualify as a believer.

    My understanding of the Christian message is that it is not feeling repentant that matters. However, my own experience suggests that there has to be something deeper than merely accepting in a theoretical way that repentance is needed.

    I am sure she knows you love her by the way you do things for her, even if you personally may not actually be experiencing any real feelings while doing those things.

    Doing things for her helps, but she is not always convinced.
     
  4. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

    +138
    Baptist
    Married
    So you won that book - excellent! :clap: You sure make up for any weaknesses in the feeling department with your cognitive skills then! From theology to science to music - wow! :)

    You should start from the beginning and try to imagine a couple conversing about you as you go along. A few chapters on there is more about feelings tactics. And in an earlier entry you had mentioned writing music- what type of musician are you? I play classical guitar.

    Yes you are right to be cautious. You can't rely on people's opinions or experiences to judge whether religion can ever be for you. The vast majority of people have absolutely no idea of what you are talking about when you have no feelings at all.

    I disagree with you there and I have to explain why. There are people who believe God because they have (correctly) felt his love and seen God answer prayers and so on, but for whatever reason they do not have a good understanding of the Bible and christian theology. Could be poor preaching from their pastors/ministers, not enough Bible knowledge, or just not strong in the debating skills arena. They can potentially have their faith destroyed who know enough about the Bible to twist and abuse the scriptures. Those type of people may not be able to come back to faith.

    That was the other part of my struggle. I had read books that explained away religion linking it to neuropsychiatric disorders, specifically temporal lobe epilepsy. I had had those experiences most when my temporal seizures were worst controlled. I completely lost those experiences after I had the surgery. Therefore my faith mustn't have been real.... I was one of those cases studies that atheists would love to use as part of their God isn't real sales campaign.

    I still struggled after I came back to Christianity, wondering if any faith of mine was wishful thinking or malfunctioning brain cells. However I went back to the same book and I realised they had quoted several prophets completely out of context and fiddled with the scriptures to justify their rejection of Christianity e.g. Acts 9:1-18 Saul/Paul in theory could have had a seizure, therefore religion is epilepsy-related. The same writer ignored how the apostles themselves - who had walked with Jesus for 3 years had accepted Paul as one of their own when he told them about how Jesus had spoken to him via vision. Peter even accepted public rebuke from Paul galatians 2:1-14 and praised Paul's writings in one of his own letters 2 peter 3:15-17 . That was my eureka moment. I had read the Bible many times, had a Catholic school upbringing, personal experiences and prayers answered before surgery - and yet I was still able to be so misled. I had not been trusting God's Word, I had been looking at how I felt/not felt, and whatever people said or wrote I believed them not God. You are doing exactly the same thing right now.

    They are right. They are telling you what the Bible says. hebrews 11:1 That applies to feelings as well.
    Logically, if you do not have any feelings even with during activities you enjoy and personal relationships with people a part of you cares deeply about, why do you think if you truly are a christian you would suddenly get feelings that have never existed for you before?


    Don't worry about that. She might just be grumbling, like when I whinge that he's so unromantic (because his idea of romance is to give me a real stir).... My hubby doesn't even have your excuse.

    Now if it helps can I use a metaphor? If you've read C.S.Lewis' books and the classic The Pilgrim's Progress you'll be familiar with spiritual walks.
    *Some christians are given a very good spiritual compass with their feelings. Their feelings about God and feelings about their spiritual walk, even discernment about other people is completely spot on in a way not explainable in normal terms. However they only can use a basic guide book and need other christians to read the map for them.
    *Other christians have a basic compass that tells them when they're going in the right general direction that usually keeps them on track but they've had a few near misses and/or accidents in the past with those feelings. However they're much better at reading the maps. Some have even read far more extensively so they're planning trips and giving good directions.
    * People like you (if you are/become a christian who have no feeling at all), and I - who has a very cracked compass that works in a very temperamental manner, have to study the maps and read all the guide books available to keep us on track. We also have to watch extremely carefully where we are walking because we may not feel changes in weather or temperature, notice poor walking conditions, we may not even notice changing day into night if we don't keep our wits about us. For you therefore it is very important that you find a very good MATURE christian man, firmly grounded in scripture AND gifted in discernment where it comes to feelings when you need a spiritual compass.

    For example, looking back over my very backslidden time period I had read and watched some very bad books and movies that I would not have been able to do pre-surgery. Any normal christian would have been absolutely horrified and what I had seen and read. I just didn't get scared by scary movie music any more. I didn't feel as disturbed by scandalous stories any more. The effects of that came later though.

    Think hard - have you developed any thinking patterns that go contrary to God's thinking?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  5. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

    340
    +15
    Agnostic
    Married
    To joey down under, thank you for your latest posting. I have read it several times and there are still parts of it that I am trying to understand. So please forgive me if I have completely misunderstood some of what you were trying to tell me.

    What type of musician am I? A not very skilled one. I write music, and play the cello, as well as some classical guitar.

    When I wrote about ex-Christians trying to deconvert others it was really just an aside. Also I am familiar with the fact that some experiences of temporal lobe epilepsy can mimic spiritual experiences.

    You wrote this:
    I had read the Bible many times, had a Catholic school upbringing, personal experiences and prayers answered before surgery - and yet I was still able to be so misled. I had not been trusting God's Word, I had been looking at how I felt/not felt, and whatever people said or wrote I believed them not God. You are doing exactly the same thing right now.

    Sorry but I do not understand what you meant in your final sentence here. Are you suggesting that I am looking towards feelings? Or that I am taking too much account of what other people tell me? Or is it something else?

    Logically, if you do not have any feelings even with during activities you enjoy and personal relationships with people a part of you cares deeply about, why do you think if you truly are a christian you would suddenly get feelings that have never existed for you before?

    You wrote this in the context of feelings of repentance. I agree with your logic, but at the same time I have to recognise what my own experience is telling me. I do not have feelings of repentance, and therefore do not feel a need for a saviour. I understand the theory, but cannot really apply it to myself. Also my two attempts to be a Christian were failures, because there was no response from God that I was aware of. This suggests to me that I never became a Christian in the first place, and a possible reason for this is that I did not truly repent in the way that God expects and therefore did not recognise a need for a saviour in the way that God expects. This leaves me in a difficult situation. One implication is that it is not possible for me to become a Christian, because I am unable to have a deep need for repentance and a saviour in the way that God expects. (I am trying to avoid using words such as “feelings”.) This in turn suggests that I cannot be saved because of a medical condition, and I am not at all sure that such an idea is consistent with the gospel message.

    It means that although logic would suggest that I do not need emotions and feelings to be saved, experience suggests the opposite. But then, we were using human logic, and God may have a completely different approach.

    I am not expecting ever to have emotions or feelings, nor am I expecting ever to be passionate about anything or to have what the Bible calls “heart”. In theory God could heal me so that I do get those things, but to be honest I do not think they would help me, because it would raise all kinds of questions that would probably cause me to reject the idea of spiritual experience completely, and would confirm to me that most so-called spiritual experiences really do come from the emotions and the imagination.

    You then wrote about spiritual walks, and I was not able to get to grips with this at all.

    Finally you asked if I have developed any thinking patterns that go contrary to God’s thinking. Yes of course. Haven’t we all? However, I am not able to give any examples of this, because I do not know God, and I do not know God’s patterns of thinking. There is too much information in the Bible for anyone to understand God’s thinking.
     
  6. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

    +138
    Baptist
    Married
    I'll highlight the part I was thinking of and expand further.
    I had not been trusting God's Word, I had been looking at how I felt/not felt, and whatever people said or wrote I believed them not God. You are doing exactly the same thing right now.

    I wanted to feel God's presence like the mystics seek and I got spontaneously without fasting, penance, and rituals. I wanted to feel convinced that God really was there. I wanted to feel forgiven like I used to. It was so much easier to believe I was forgiven when the overwhelming feelings of love came so automatically when I confessed my sins.
    You seem to believe that if you feel repentant, you will know you will be forgiven and be a child of God. It doesn't work like that. Have you actually confessed your sins? Have you done that, not felt that? See 1 John 1:9 Does it say anything about the christian needing to feel repentant first?

    Forget about feelings. Do you believe all the christian teachings e.g. Jesus is God, was crucified and rose from the dead are true- yes or no? see Romans 10:5-13

    No response that you were aware of. God does not always speak loudly to grab our attention or perform miracles at the drop of a hat. I certainly wished He did! If He did that no faith would be needed at all. It is faith that pleases Him.

    Read this verse: John 3:16 Is it whoever feels great repentance or whoever believes in Him? There's those doing verbs not feeling words again!

    I agree that idea is completely inconsistent with the Gospel. Jesus always showed great love towards the needy, down-trodden, the outcasts, the sick and the disabled.

    Yes human logic is often faulty. That is why we need God's wisdom, and where do we get that - looking at what the Bible says, not our feelings.

    I think you are linking the spiritual with the emotions too closely now! For me it is actually knowledge, intuition and discernment that has developed since I returned to God properly. If you came to God that could be the same for you as well. I'll go further into what has happened in your next reply perhaps?

    Ah, but you will... if you read the Book of Proverbs. Look for every aspect of God's character revealed in those 31 chapters. Proverbs 1 Look for the patterns of thinking that contradict the world's wisdom. Look for how much careful attention to detail there is in the advice. Look out how our Heavenly Father gives advice for the most mundane and trivial details. Look at how much love is there amongst the rebukes. Proverbs 2:6-8
     
  7. bling

    bling Regular Member Supporter

    +974
    Non-Denom
    Married
     
  8. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

    340
    +15
    Agnostic
    Married
    To joey down under,

    You wrote this:
    You seem to believe that if you feel repentant, you will know you will be forgiven and be a child of God. It doesn't work like that. Have you actually confessed your sins? Have you done that, not felt that? See 1 John 1:9 Does it say anything about the christian needing to feel repentant first?

    No, for me it is not about feelings, because I know that I do not have feelings in the conventional sense. It is about having a conviction of sin through the Holy Spirit. I do not know how the Holy Spirit would work on me, nor how I would recognise it, but it is possible that the lack of this experience is keeping me from being able to commit to faith.

    Have I confessed my sins? Yes, I did that, but without anything that I could call a real conviction of sin. Without a “feeling of repentance”. I know what it says in 1 John 1:9 and maybe my sins were forgiven. But there was no sign of any other response from God, and that was the problem.

    Forget about feelings. Do you believe all the christian teachings e.g. Jesus is God, was crucified and rose from the dead are true- yes or no? see Romans 10:5-13

    Believe is too strong a word. I accept their possibility. I did believe them during the time when I was a Christian.

    No response that you were aware of. God does not always speak loudly to grab our attention or perform miracles at the drop of a hat. I certainly wished He did! If He did that no faith would be needed at all. It is faith that pleases Him.

    Quite right, no response that I was aware of. But for me the lack of awareness is important. Because without me being aware of a response from God, there is no sign of a relationship between me and God.

    We are thinking here of God responding after I have repented and asked for salvation, after I have stepped out in faith. Faith most definitely would be needed.

    Read this verse: John 3:16 Is it whoever feels great repentance or whoever believes in Him? There's those doing verbs not feeling words again!

    Yes, and I did it. But it didn’t help. Maybe my sins are forgiven. Maybe I have eternal life. But so what, if I do not know God?

    I think you are linking the spiritual with the emotions too closely now! For me it is actually knowledge, intuition and discernment that has developed since I returned to God properly. If you came to God that could be the same for you as well. I'll go further into what has happened in your next reply perhaps?

    I am glad for you that coming to God has helped these things to develop. It did not happen for me.

    Ah, but you will... if you read the Book of Proverbs. Look for every aspect of God's character revealed in those 31 chapters. Proverbs 1 Look for the patterns of thinking that contradict the world's wisdom. Look for how much careful attention to detail there is in the advice. Look out how our Heavenly Father gives advice for the most mundane and trivial details. Look at how much love is there amongst the rebukes. Proverbs 2:6-8

    I will look at Proverbs. For information, my daughter produced an embroidery of the second part of chapter 31.
     
  9. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

    +138
    Baptist
    Married
     
  10. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

    +138
    Baptist
    Married
    If you swapped "feeling" blindness with "physical" blindness would you be as unreasonable as labelling yourself as incapable of faith because you cannot see God's majesty through creation, you could not read the Bible, you could not see God working in your life?

    I'll expand further. A severely blind person from birth hears these type of verses:
    John 8:12
    John 12:46
    Corinthians 6:14
    Ephesians 5:8
    1 John 1:5

    If he said to himself "I know they are referring to spiritual blindness BUT I don't even have any idea of what sight means, how can I apply this to myself? How will I know what it means to walk in the light when I've never even seen light? It makes no sense to me, therefore I'll never really understand what other christians are saying when they talk about what they see in God's Word, therefore I can never know if I'm really a christian, therefore I am in deep despair because I'll never see things as other people do....." wouldn't you think he was placing far too much importance on physical eyesight and not enough on what God actually says in the Bible?

    OK, another metaphor. :) Imagine a parent with a severely autistic child. The child gives no signs he is aware the parent is actually there. How much actual care and attention does that child actually receive from that parent and/or other carers?

    You may have actually learnt more than you realised BUT because you only focused on your lack of feelings you were distracted from what you have been receiving at the time. You may even have got severely side-tracked by a Screwtape-type enemy. The Bible shows that Satan does not fight fair, he uses gureilla/terrorist tactics on any christian even the most defenseless.

    I read a chapter a day and looked for the verse that jumped out at me the most. I then looked for e.g. Proverbs 3:5-6 sermon or article I could read or listen to that day.
     
  11. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

    340
    +15
    Agnostic
    Married
    To bling.

    You wrote this:
    “Salvation” is more the icing on the cake. Godly type Love is the real gift and it is the greatest power/gift God could give, since it is the force that compels even God to do all he does.
    We sometimes talk about “knowing” God as if He was some far off ruler. Knowing God is to know Godly type Love since God is Love.


    Because everyone is different, Christians describe their situation in different ways. For some it is being saved from sin that is most important, and so they describe it as salvation. For others it is knowing and spreading the love of God that is most important. Maybe God would want Christians to be enthusiastic about every aspect rather than concentrating on just one.

    I can agree with you that the “sinner’s pray” is kind of weak and does not jump start people.

    It did not jump start me. But I disagree that it does not affect people generally. For many it leads to a whole new experience of God working in their lives – and it is because I never had that experience that I am posting here.

    If you really want to be “bold” about this you can start with “Believer Baptism” as a real helpful experience.
    Adult emersion is a wonderful way to add to the experience of conversion and add to the memory for person being baptized: a putting off of the old life going down under, a washing away of your sins, humbly putting of your life into the hands of another, the rising from the grave to a new life, and the walking out of the water to a new family. It also becomes a great witness.


    I could not have a believer’s baptism now, because I am no longer a believer. During my time spent as a believer, nobody ever suggested that I should be baptised. Things were different back then.

    Whatever baptism is supposed to cause, I know people who have been baptised more recently and whose Christianity has more or less faded away. Definitely not a new life.
     
  12. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

    340
    +15
    Agnostic
    Married
    To joey down under.

    You wrote about the idea of a person with physical blindness not being able to understand what is meant by spiritual sight, and walking in the light of God. Am I doing something similar because I do not experience emotions and feelings? If I am doing something similar in some ways, there is one very important difference. I would expect that a physically blind person who became a Christian would then begin to understand the things of the spirit, and walk with God. They might not describe it in terms of sight and light, but they would recognise the experience. Whereas for me, there was no change that I was aware of after I gave my life to God.

    You wrote this:
    OK, another metaphor. Imagine a parent with a severely autistic child. The child gives no signs he is aware the parent is actually there. How much actual care and attention does that child actually receive from that parent and/or other carers?

    Some parents and carers would be very caring. Others would not, because they were not getting anything back from the child. And what kind of a relationship would there be? My answer is, a very one-sided relationship, if you can call it a relationship, but I recognise that you might give a different answer.

    You may have actually learnt more than you realised BUT because you only focused on your lack of feelings you were distracted from what you have been receiving at the time.

    I am going to have to say this again: I was not and am still not focussed on a lack of feelings. I agree that some of the ways in which people describe their relationship with God could involve feelings. But there are other ways in which God could respond, and build a relationship, without involving feelings. For example answering a prayer, giving guidance, teaching a spiritual truth, changing the person from within. I never experienced any of these “non-feelings” blessings.

    I just read, out loud, Proverbs 1. So far I have not noticed any special verse.
     
  13. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

    +138
    Baptist
    Married
    Did you have any christians around you to tell you how you were going?
    By that I mean things like noticing your change in attitude, behaviour, increased knowledge about the Bible. Often people notice changes in us that we would never think and/or see the changes first. My non-believing husband is the first to pick up changes in me and I'm supposed to be the sensitive one..... :blush: Perhaps you needed and/or currently need a really good mentor you can completely trust to give you a kind of ongoing (and reassuring!) personal progress report?

    Sure, humans are imperfect but God is not, and His love endures forever. To a detached observer it may appear to not be a relationship, but the carer is giving care to someone who cannot or will never appear to respond. So what if it may seem completely one-sided?

    1. At this point in time what kind of prayer do you think would be needed to convince you that God exists and/or you are a real christian?
    2. What kind of advice do you think God would need to give you that you couldn't dismiss as human wisdom (either from yourself or others)?
    3. What kind (or to what degree) of personal change or transformation do you think you would need for God to perform for you to be able to say "that must have been God who did that in me"?

    That's OK. The first couple of chapters at first glance are foundational ones for the more specific ones. The importance of them hits you later though. For your interests' sake: the first part of my conscience was pricked in Proverbs 1 was that I hadn't listened to Wisdom's call keep away from people who were obvious sinners, both in person and via TV/internet. I remember the inward grumbling and resentment quite vividly. ^_^
     
  14. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

    340
    +15
    Agnostic
    Married
    To joey down under,

    You asked some questions in your recent posting. Your first question presumably refers to the time when I was a believer:
    Did you have any christians around you to tell you how you were going?
    By that I mean things like noticing your change in attitude, behaviour, increased knowledge about the Bible. Often people notice changes in us that we would never think and/or see the changes first. My non-believing husband is the first to pick up changes in me and I'm supposed to be the sensitive one..... Perhaps you needed and/or currently need a really good mentor you can completely trust to give you a kind of ongoing (and reassuring!) personal progress report?


    Yes, there were Christians around, both from my church and from other local churches. I would not expect them to notice increased knowledge of the Bible, because even before becoming a believer I knew my Bible better than many Christians. They would have noticed changes in my behaviour after becoming a believer, such as beginning some activities at my church, including a Bible study group. However, there were some who would have liked to see me involved in other things. For example, I never contributed to the prayers at Bible study groups. As for my attitude, I do remember several times when Christians commented on my attitudes as not being quite right for a Christian, suggesting that my attitude ought to have changed now that I was a believer, but recognising that my attitudes had not changed.

    Was there also someone who knew me well enough to be able to give me a personal progress report? Yes, my Christian wife. She recognised that I was not experiencing some of the things that she was experiencing as a Christian. She also saw how much I suffered during my final months as a believer and the months after I stopped calling myself a Christian. During that time she mentioned the word divorce many times. Indeed, if I should become a believer again she would be very worried about me, because of her concern that we might once again have to suffer the extremely difficult process of questioning and abandoning my faith.

    Is there a mentor now who could give me a progress report? I am not sure, but no doubt if I joined a local church such a person would be found. However, the task might not be easy, because they would be looking for changes in me from how I am now. What am I like now? A local Baptist minister said to me that he would have assumed that I was a Christian, because he saw in me many of the fruits of the spirit such as patience, tolerance and self-control, more so than in many of his congregation. The trouble is, I have always been like that, since long before I became a believer, so they are obviously not fruits of the spirit in me.

    1. At this point in time what kind of prayer do you think would be needed to convince you that God exists and/or you are a real christian?

    In this question I am not sure if you are asking what kind of answer to prayer I would need, or if you are asking what I would pray for. What kind of answer would I need? Any answer at all would be better than the nothing I have observed so far. What would I pray for? I think the best answer to this question is to tell you what I have been praying daily for the past month or so.

    I pray that I could be shown how God regards sin, and how God regards me as a sinner, so that I might learn the horror of sin and recognise a real need for a saviour. I also add that God could act in whatever way God chooses, whether it is to teach me about sin or to affect me in any other way that would help to bring me closer to God. I ask in the name of Jesus.

    2. What kind of advice do you think God would need to give you that you couldn't dismiss as human wisdom (either from yourself or others)?
    3. What kind (or to what degree) of personal change or transformation do you think you would need for God to perform for you to be able to say "that must have been God who did that in me"?


    I find it difficult to answer these questions with specific examples. However, I hope that I would recognise what God had done when it happened. In my current situation, one possibility that is not really advice but would clearly not be human wisdom would be someone with a word of knowledge from God about me, something that when I learned it, I would really learn how to find God. Or a message about what went wrong in my previous attempts to become a Christian; I have not found anyone who can help me to understand what went wrong, but God certainly ought to know, and could pass this knowledge to me or to someone else.

    In the situation if I had stepped out in faith and was waiting for God to respond to me in some way that would convince me that a relationship was beginning to develop, then I am wary about making any suggestions here, because someone will then tell me that I am limiting God too much and asking for something too specific. Besides, it would be up to God to decide what I needed, wouldn’t it?
     
  15. bling

    bling Regular Member Supporter

    +974
    Non-Denom
    Married
    I have another suggestion.


    I have been one of the trainers in the Alpha course in the USA. It actually started in England and has been spreading. You can take your wife on a “free” date and they have good meals. Here is the web site for looking up the closes location.
    http://uk.alpha.org/findacourse
     
  16. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

    340
    +15
    Agnostic
    Married
    It is a very sensible suggestion. However, I have been on Alpha courses and similar courses four times, in about 1994, 1997, 2007 and 2010. Each was run by a different local church.
     
  17. losthope

    losthope Regular Member

    340
    +15
    Agnostic
    Married
    To joey down under.

    You wrote this:
    I am starting to notice a pattern. If you have a what could be a spiritual gift or strength from God you automatically dismiss it as not being from God.

    No, I have not been dismissing it as not from God. I have been saying that it did not change after I became a believer, and therefore it does not show any sign of the Holy Spirit working in me as a Christian and proving to me that God has accepted me.

    You sound like you've got a very good heart and very strong in the thinking department. Who gave you that heart and head?

    A mixture of nature and nurture, plus some hard work by me. If you want to say from God, you may.

    I am also very reluctant to contribute to any prayers in groups. I get tongue-tied especially when I am self-conscious. I am far more articulate in writing than words. (Thank God for email - I hate the phone!) Were these comments by people close to you who actually knew your whole situation that you have described on this forum? Or where they mere acquaintances that had a mental check-list of christian character traits and you weren't "filling in enough boxes"?

    I was not self-conscious in a group of Christians. Nor did I lack confidence. I would be quite happy to share my ideas or ask questions in a Bible study group. But when they had the time of prayer I said nothing. Maybe the reason was that I had attended Bible study groups before I became a believer, when of course it would have been inappropriate for me to pray aloud, and I continued not praying aloud after becoming a believer.

    The Christians who made comments about me were people that I met with regularly and who had known me before I became a believer. They were therefore in a position to observe how I had changed, or not changed, because of my faith.

    Can you give some of that patience, tolerance and self-control to me please?!!!!

    Better still, can we do a swap? Some of my patience, tolerance and self-control for some of your emotions and spiritual awareness. Or is that both of us breaking the tenth commandment by coveting one another’s qualities?

    And here you have someone who has had brain surgery resulting in loss of spiritual feelings typing to you for a few days now. One yes tick for your prayer list.

    A definite bonus, I agree. But it is too soon for me to know if there is an answer to prayer.

    Do you mean like a personal message (specific to you) only from prayer or healing minstry rallies or christian friend?

    Yes. Or from someone I share my story with, or even via the internet from someone on the other side of the world.

    Well as an outsider and only being able to go on what you've typed all I can say that:
    1. you may have sinned and because of your condition you didn't feel your conscience pricking at the time.... of that I am not especially convinced of though


    Oh, I have definitely sinned. But my conscience is not pricking.

    2. you have had a particularly malicious attack from the Enemy (think hack of all hacks into your database) and you need to approach your situation from a spiritual warfare perspective and no longer an emotional/biological one ASAP.

    That possibility has been suggested and prayed about by my Christian friends, especially soon after I gave up my faith. But nothing changed. However, I think it is very unlikely. I seem to have a complete lack of spiritual awareness, to be spiritually blind, deaf, dead, or whatever – which may be why God cannot get through to me. There may be a major spiritual battle going on all around me, but I am unaware of it. It seems to me to be more likely that because I have no spiritual awareness, the enemy cannot touch me either, at least for now. However, if and when I do become spiritually aware of God, then I may also become vulnerable to attacks from other spiritual influences.

    3. Read the Book of Job. Sometimes God puts christians through major trials for reasons we do not understand at the time. We may never learn why in this life time, but afterwards it will all make perfect sense to us. Your life may be such a blessing to other people and this struggle of yours may be bringing glory to God in a way you can't imagine.

    I recognise this as a possibility, although I am not yet aware of my struggle bringing glory to God

    I just thought of this (proudly I may say Aussie) ebook for you! The Quest For Fulfilment: An exciting book about Christian ministry, free to internet users

    Downloaded. But I have not yet read all 152 pages.

    I know there is plenty in my life I would never have decided I needed but I see now what good has come from it. e.g. many severe bouts of depression and all for different reasons have made me very sensitive and caring towards many people who have said no other person has understood what they're going through. There are a lot of hurting people out there.

    I could say exactly the same. Because of the effects of the “lump in my head” I have experiences that would never have happened otherwise and have met many people I would never have met otherwise, and have been able to help and understand some of them.

    For you - there is so much humility and lack of pride for your personal accomplishments that comes through your words. I admire you for that. God seems to have done a great deal of work in you.

    Thank you for your kind words.
     
  18. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

    +138
    Baptist
    Married
    Hi losthope, this morning my church did a 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 sermon that could have been written just for you! I asked the pastor when it will be put online, he said mid Wednesday onwards so that'll probably be late Tuesday onwards UK time? Oakden Baptist Church - Download free podcast episodes by Oakden Baptist Church on iTunes.. Yes I know you may not feel depression itself but a lot said agreed just with what I have been saying, ranging from God's character to faith not being dependent on feelings. I'll reply to your full entry later (since my husband reprogrammed this older computer it doesn't want to do paragraphs on this forum).
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  19. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

    +138
    Baptist
    Married
    Who knows, God may not have needed to do any major improvements or upgrades (only needed to do polishing and slight sanding on you in minor installments) unlike many of us mere mortals? :) My husband is one of your type of frustrating individuals. Too sane and stable for his own good but then he is the the son of a Yorkshire immigrant. My father-in-law is a real old school stiff upper-lipper. Still has the accent too (why don't you Poms ever lose the accent?!!!!)
    I am being serious now- God may genuinely not had to change character traits much in you, and what has been changed has been such a gradual process that even people close to have assumed it was just you maturing as a person and/or nothing to do with any type of faith.

    Or maybe it just wasn't your strength or spiritual gift? I think most people can tell the difference between genuine spiritual prayer and "keeping up with the Joneses" style prayer and it is probably best that you pray silently if it doesn't seem natural for you personally to pray out loud - yet.... ;)

    Fair enough. Did any of your friends talk about any personal difficulties they had with doubt and not ever hearing God speak to them via an inner voice or feelings?

    If I could I'd give you half if I could have half of yours. And admiring isn't coveting either. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

    Feelings are not the important thing. You have stated you have definitely sinned, therefore you know you are a sinner. Do you think a genuine atheist could say such a thing?

    Seem, seem, SEEM. Forget about seem, feel, instinctively "know" or any other word remotely related to emotions. Do you trust the Bible (and therefore God) to be telling the truth about spiritual battles and the need for christians to be on their guard?
    WRONG. Do you really think only christians are spiritually attacked? Who do you think the Pharisees were listening to when they made this accusation? matthew 12:22-24 Were they ever believers in Jesus? (No speculations about converts after Jesus' resurrection permitted).
    Let's say you do decide that you are truly a christian because you have confessed your sins, believed in Jesus, accept The Nicene Creed and so on, don't you realise that you then are much "safer" spiritually than a non-believer? 1 John 3:19-24 , 1 John 4:4 , 1 peter 5:8-11 , romans 8:31-39 Who do you want to be on your side - Satan or God? (Hint: go for the one who's won the battle...)
    I doubt that many of us think of what good can come from our struggles while we are going through them.
    There you go. You must be going to be a completely different part of the body of Christ to me then. I got a mental picture of you being an excellent foot. Can handle immense pressure and heavy loads no worries, and you've got a very high tolerance for pain. If you've ever walked on an Australian road in summer when the bitumen's melting then you'd want to have thick skin....;)

    You're definitely worth it. I am sure your wife agrees with me.
     
Loading...